Professional Engineering Org Prints Professor in its Mag: Those Poor, Dear Gay People Have a Destructive Lifestyle & Need Gawd!

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    Oct 04, 2013 12:05 PM GMT
    "Bless Yer Heart!"

    http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2013/09/24/some-professors-outraged-engineering-education-magazine-publishes-anti-gay-letter

    Inside Higher EducationThe articles in Prism, the magazine of the American Society for Engineering Education, focus on new research and teaching ideas. And the magazine periodically writes about efforts to diversify engineering.

    Many readers of Prism were shocked this month [September] when they found that the magazine published a letter with what would typically be considered anti-gay rhetoric.

    "We would do well to teach the truth about the homosexual /lesbian/ bisexual/ transgender lifestyle. These dear people caught up in this destructive way of life need true help and true hope and not encouragement or approval of a detrimental, negative lifestyle. They deserve better than that. This is not God’s plan for their lives," says the letter, from Wayne A. Helmer, professor of mechanical engineering at Arkansas Tech University. He continued: "Beyond the physical, their emotional and spiritual needs are just like ours: Their need for abundant life (emotional) and forgiveness of sins (spiritual) is only what Jesus Christ can give them [John 10:10, 13:16]. Only [He?] can truly change lives and give people the healing and forgiveness and self-worth and significance that they [and we] all desire and need."


    Arkansas TECH, you say? I "would do well" to just leave that alone. Go on...

    Inside Higher EducationThe letter prompted the association's president (Kenneth F. Galloway of Vanderbilt University), president-elect (Nicholas J. Altiero of Tulane University) and immediate past president (Walter J. Buchanan of Texas A&M University) to take the unusual step of issuing a joint letter denouncing their own publication for publishing Helmer's piece. "His specious mischaracterization of homosexuality is unsupported by any reputable literature," the letter said. "Professor Helmer is entitled to his religious beliefs. However, Prism is not an appropriate place for him to air his judgment of others based on those beliefs."


    Inside Higher EducationAmy E. Slaton, a historian of science and technology at Drexel University, wrote on her blog STEM Equity that the Prism letter raised broad issues. "The line between 'freedom of speech' on one hand, and the dissemination of hate speech on the other, vexes everyone who thinks about diversity in a democratic society, or at least it should," she wrote. Normally this concern isn't big in STEM education, she added.

    "Then when we do recognize it, our responses to discrimination don’t often rise to the level of audible anger. We’ve developed the habit of seeking 'respectful dialog' as mostly, we try to redirect the thinking of those who traffic in bias and stereotyping; a constructive impulse, perhaps, but not always a way of speaking truth to power.
    It’s partly a matter of self-preservation, of course: activism, anger, noise? ... not the marks of the mature student, or professional educator or engineer," Slaton wrote.

    "But a funny thing happened on the way to diversity in engineering this morning ... and I am newly worried about the quietness of our STEM diversity efforts, about the sheer timidity of our discussions around difference and inclusion. And mostly: about our reluctance to censure powerfully those who traffic in hateful rhetoric."


    http://thinkprogress.org/lgbt/2013/09/24/2669671/engineering-magazine-publishes-anti-gay-letter-to-discuss-the-value-of-diversity/

    ThinkProgressHelmer defended his remarks in a phone interview with Inside Higher Ed, explaining that he wasn’t anti-gay — though he refuses to use the word “gay” — but “these poor people have been hurt so bad that there needs to be a spiritual solution.”


    Would that be like a Final Solution, prof? icon_confused.gif

    Think ProgressBut Executive Director Norman Fortenberry defended its publication:

    FORTENBERRY: While we do not assert the equal validity of all viewpoints, we published the letter (because) in our judgment: 1. It represented a sincere response to content published in Prism. 2. The views expressed are probably not unique. 3. While many may find the content objectionable, within its context it was apparently not intended as an ad hominem attack. 4. It offered an opportunity for a discussion among ASEE’s membership about the value of diversity.


    diversity300x100-040511.jpg

    ("Hey! Cut out all that destructive, unhealthy same-sex hugging!" - probably Helmer)

    Inside Higher EducationFortenberry said that, in hindsight, the letter should have had an editor's note "observing that the views expressed were those of the author's alone, noting that among other things, the ASEE Statement on Diversity calls for equality of opportunity, 'regardless of gender, age, race, ethnic background, disability, sexual orientation or national origin,' and further noting that Professor Helmer’s views would appear to be at variance with this statement."


    Ya think?

    http://www.asee.org/about-us/policy/diversity
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    Oct 04, 2013 12:34 PM GMT
    Links to full blog posts from Prof. Amy Slaton (Go Dragons, btw! icon_biggrin.gif ) in regards to the letter from the dear, poor Prof. Wayne Helmer. The first one includes the latter's full letter to ASEE that questioned, "Is All Diversity Good?"...

    http://stemequity.com/2013/09/20/lgbtq-inclusion-in-stem-timidity-wont-work/

    http://stemequity.com/2013/09/28/apology-excepted-anti-lgbtq-bias-in-stem-continued/

    The letter from Helmer (cited earlier in the original post) concludes with, "And that is the truth all of us need to hear and proclaim and submit to."

    Prof. Helmer's specious "I'm just asking a question!" approach in his full letter oddly concludes with an insistence upon a "truth" needing to be shared. Not very engineering-like, at all. It also embeds an unlinked reference to Paul Cameron's long-debunked research finding about life expectancy ("takes 5 to 15 years off..."). He "would do well" to read this so he can quit digging his way out of his own hole:

    http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/intelligence-report/browse-all-issues/2010/winter/10-myths
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    Oct 04, 2013 12:44 PM GMT
    Link to the full letter to the ASEE editor of Prism from the ASEE President, President-Elect, and Immediate Past President in response to the editor's decision to publish the letter without qualification. (To appear in this month's printed edition)

    http://www.asee.org/papers-and-publications/news-and-surveys/news/press-releases/press-releases-home/asee-presidents-respond-to-prism-letter

    It should be noted that the joint response happens to come from professors at three highly reputable (sorry, Arkansas Tech) STEM collegiate programs in the South (Vandy, Tulane, Texas A&M).
  • Apparition

    Posts: 3529

    Oct 04, 2013 3:05 PM GMT
    perhaps in the name of diversity, they could suggest a new ethics component, and mental competency requirement for engineers. Perhaps something that requires logic and proof of non-psychosis.

    For instance.
    1. Engineers agree that science and empirical evidence shall be used in all judgements as an Engineer.

    2. Engineers by accepting (1) shall sign a sworn statement, that there is no evidence whatsoever for a. your imaginary friend b. santa clause c. the easter bunny d. any deity past or present.

    failure to sign the statement will require all engineers to declare themselves to be suffering from psychosis and unfit for duty, until such time that they sign 2


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    Oct 04, 2013 3:28 PM GMT
    Apparition saidperhaps in the name of diversity, they could suggest a new ethics component, and mental competency requirement for engineers. Perhaps something that requires logic and proof of non-psychosis.

    For instance.
    1. Engineers agree that science and empirical evidence shall be used in all judgements as an Engineer.

    2. Engineers by accepting (1) shall sign a sworn statement, that there is no evidence whatsoever for a. your imaginary friend b. santa clause c. the easter bunny d. any deity past or present.

    failure to sign the statement will require all engineers to declare themselves to be suffering from psychosis and unfit for duty, until such time that they sign 2




    "Who needs bridges and tunnels, anyway? If we all strive enough to be like Jeebus, we can just walk on water!"

    - Statics 101 at Arkansas Tech icon_lol.gif
  • Kazachok

    Posts: 415

    Oct 04, 2013 8:04 PM GMT
    Almost enough to make me turn from engineering an run for the hills.
    I always assumed that most engineers were atheists, but then I saw the name of the university, and everything was made clear to me.
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    Oct 04, 2013 9:45 PM GMT
    Mechanical engineers aren't known for their social skills.
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    Oct 04, 2013 10:40 PM GMT
    How's their editing?
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    Oct 04, 2013 10:43 PM GMT
    theantijock saidHow's their editing?


    Engrish? On par.